Grapevine: The spread of Mimouna

Eyal Golan launches fragrance; Holon becomes center of culture; Tel Aviv tour guide marks city's 104th anniversary.

Netanyahu at Mimouna 521 (photo credit: Avishag Shar Yashuv)
Netanyahu at Mimouna 521
(photo credit: Avishag Shar Yashuv)
■ JUST BEFORE Passover, singer Eyal Golan launched his signature fragrance E.Go. at BigShop in Ashdod. Around 1,000 people waited for him outside the store, forcing the artist to wait in his car for more than quarter of an hour until a path was cleared for him to enter the store, with fans who were crushed against the barricades still calling his name.
■ IS HOLON becoming the cultural capital of Israel? Events reflecting the multifaceted cultural development of the country are of late being held at the Holon Theater, the Holon Mediatech, the Holon Design Museum, the Holon Children’s Museum, the Holon Cartoon Museum and at other cultural facilities in Holon. Among the recent events attended by Holon Mayor Moti Sasson over Passover was the Days of Song Festival at the Holon Theater where he presented a Life Achievement Award to composer and musical arranger Kobi Oshrat. Several of the popular melodies that he composed were sung by well-known figures from Israel’s entertainment industry.
■ ILAN SHCHORI, a Tel Aviv tour guide and journalist and the editor of VIP Tour Guide and My Tel Aviv Magazine decided to celebrate the 104th anniversary of his beloved city last Sunday by leading a tour that started at the Shalom Tower through Dizengoff Street and other parts of the inner environs in which he recalled the pioneers of the city that never sleeps and the way in which the seashell lottery for housing plots was conducted. Some of the original buildings in Tel Aviv are opulent even by today’s standards, but it is doubtful whether the founding fathers envisaged Tel Aviv as it looks today with its multitude of high-rise commercial and residential buildings, green parks and network of overpasses and underpasses created in the city’s ongoing efforts to deal with traffic congestion.
■ TEL AVIV University alumna Dr. Osnat Zomer-Penn, 32, a computational biologist, was one of the recipients of the prestigious UNESCO L’Oreal Prize, awarded recently at a ceremony held at the Sorbonne in Paris. She will receive $40,000 over a two-year period to enable her to continue with her postdoctoral research in genome sciences focusing on the development of autism, at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she has been studying for the past year. She is due to return to TAU in a year’s time.
■ MIMOUNA IS THE festival brought to Israel by Moroccan immigrants who made it so popular that it has now become a national open door festival with moufleta and other sweet items served on the evening at the end of Passover, as well as the aroma of barbecues wafting from parks and picnic grounds around the country. The moufleta is a Moroccan pancake onto which honey or jam is drizzled to symbolize a sweet year ahead.
Government ministers, MKs and other public figures often attend several Mimouna events in the one night. The person who deserves the most credit for promoting Mimouna in Israel is Sam Ben-Chetrit, who heads the Jerusalem headquartered World Federation of Moroccan Jewry, currently celebrating its bar mitzva year. Ben-Chetrit selects a different city every year in which to host the Central Mimouna celebrations. This year it was Or Akiva, adjacent to Caesarea where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has his holiday home. Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were the guests of honor at the Or Akiva Cultural Center where they were welcomed by Ben-Chetrit and Or Akiva Mayor Simcha Yosipov. Other municipalities also hosted Mimouna events on Monday night and during the day on Tuesday. President Shimon Peres together with the chief rabbis attended a Mimouna celebration in a private home in Ir Ganim in Jerusalem on Monday night, and in Bat Yam. Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau on Tuesday evening participated in a discussion on the status and successes of Moroccan Jews in Israel. He was welcomed by Ben-Chetrit, Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani and Deputy Mayor Uri Buskila, who was in charge of the local Mimouna festivities. Among the participants in the discussion moderated by Ben-Chetrit were deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, former minister Prof.
Shimon Shetreet of the Hebrew University Law School, Rabbanit Bruria Zvuluni-Ifergen, Prof. Raphi Israeli of the Truman Institute, former Israeli ambassador to France Dr. Yehuda Lancry, Hebrew University philosopher Dr. Meir Buzaglo, poet Erez Biton and retired diplomat and consultant on Israel-United States relations Yoram Ettinger.